The 17-year-old’s hard work has inspired her own family as well – they sponsor two children through Plan Canada and often give each other Gifts of Hope at special occasions. Nicky’s mom, obstetrician Amanda Skoll, matches her daughter’s donations dollar-for-dollar.
Today Nicky shares with us the story behind her passion – and the event that inspired her to get involved.
KJ: You’ve taken a special interest in Because I am a Girl, and especially water issues. What inspired you to take on these causes?
Water is something that we take for granted every day, because we expect that it will be fresh and clean every time we go to the tap or the water fountain. For some, this isn’t the case and that isn’t right. Water is so closely tied to women and their stance in their communities. I feel that if we can give people easy access to clean water, young girls can go to school and be educated. Basically, it is the realization that if women are given a chance, they can really achieve wonderful things.
KJ: Tell me about how you’ve gotten involved and raised funds for these causes that you’re passionate about.
The very first time I raised money was for the tsunami that happened in December of 2004 in Indonesia. I felt compelled to help, because it didn’t seem fair to watch as people built their homes back up without any help. I knew that I couldn’t fly out and help so directly, so my brother and I decided to raise money around our neighborhood. After we had raised the money, I knew that this was something I wanted to continue doing, so I chose something that was an ongoing issue: access to clean water. After the first couple of years, I was hooked. In total, I have raised over 30,000 dollars towards building wells in Africa within the past 6 years. It made me feel so wonderful to think of the people I was helping. I like to say that this all began with the wave of the tsunami and it will end with the water that people will be able to get access to.
KJ: Getting involved runs in your family – how has your mom’s involvement influenced you, and vice versa?
I have a very giving family, and I feel blessed to have been placed into it. I have learnt very important lessons, but one of the most important is that we should give support to those that need it, because everyone should be given a chance to succeed. My mother has supported me and helped me to raise the money that I needed in order to reach my goal. Without my family, I would have never been able to motivate myself and get as involved as I have.
KJ: I’ve heard that your family sponsors two children through Plan. Can you tell me about them and what it was like growing up having these sponsor siblings?
I think that it is absolutely wonderful that they sponsor children through plan, because I think that, as I have stated before, people just need a little support and they can go a long way. We get letters from the children and drawings, and I think its amazing to have a connection with someone so far away from you. I look forward to being to sponsor someone when I am older.
KJ: Do you have any tips for other girls who would like to get involved in Because I am a Girl?
I think the only thing that I can think of is to find something that you are passionate about and do whatever you can to follow it and reach whatever goals you set for yourself. Don’t be afraid to ask for help. I know first hand, that support from friends and family can really motivate you and help you to succeed. Because I am a girl helps girls around the world succeed. What better connection do you have to these people? No matter the size, you can make a difference.